It is no longer news that Kokomaster D’banj and his manager, Abisagboola Oluseun John, popularly called Bankulli, have parted ways.
Since the news broke about two weeks ago, both parties have kept mum over the issue, thus leading to wild speculations. A version has it that, “following repeated disagreements between D’banj and Bankulli that bothered on issues of trust, leading to accusations and counter-accusations, D’banj got angry and slapped Bankulli and subsequently fired him”.
Another version says; “The pair got into a heated argument when D’banj found out Bankulli went to Paris after the Koko concert to work on Kanye West’s next album without his knowledge. Bankulli allegedly left for Paris after the Koko concert in December and his employer/artiste wasn’t aware of his ‘clandestine’ trip to Paris to drop adlibs on Kanye’s next album”. However, Entertainment Gist can authoritatively reveal to you that the relationship between D’banj and Bankulli began to go sour towards the end of last year, based on accusations that D’banj is very insensitive and nonchalant. Sources in D’banj’s camp who spoke with Entertainment Gist on condition of anonymity revealed that, “what really happened is an accumulation of D’banj’s insensitive attitude, of course he’s a big star, but he’s a very difficult person, its part of his attitude and lifestyle”.
After the last edition of Koko Concert that was held in December 2012 at the Eko Atlantic city, the source claimed that D’banj went ahead to do a lot of things without consulting with his team, and on the few occasions he did, he was insensitive, and rather chose to attend private parties enjoying himself which in no small measure contributed to some of the flops recorded during the Koko concert, and this further infuriated Bankulli. “Truthfully, Bankulli travelled to Paris, France few days after Koko Concert, and baba (D’banj) was aware, but it’s not certain as at that time if he was going to France to work with Kanye West or not, but it seemed D’banj wasn’t comfortable with the fact that Bankulli was getting more attention from Kanye West’s camp” the source said. The source laughed when posed with the question if Bankuli was indeed fired. “Fired ke, he walked away. Bankuli showed courage and walked away because I believe he had had enough. Working with D’banj is tough as hell. Do you know that everybody that works with baba always gets tired of him and walks away? Fired him? No o.”
When contacted by Entertainment Gist, Bankulli who was unreachable for days and later was not taking calls on his mobile, declined to comment on the issue. All he said was, “D’banj didn’t fire me, I just decided to move on”. He declined having any heated argument with D’banj, or if he was in France to work with Kanye West without D’banj’s consent.
For those who don’t know, D’banj and Bankulli have not seen eye to eye this year, their friendship however dates back to over 10 years ago when Bankuli worked with R70 under DJ Abass and Ayo Shonaiya to provide management and agency support.
Recall that UK big boy Ayo Shonaiya was hugely instrumental in D’banj’s break and rise to stardom in Nigeria. All this while, Bankulli was always in the background as the Nigerian representative for R70 at a time when the UK-based company was a major link between the Nigerian music industry and the United Kingdom. “Till date Bankulli still addresses Ayo Shonaiya as his boss. Although his relationship with D’Banj became prominent following the Mo’Hits break up last year, both D’banj and Bankulli have always been good friends. For those in the know, Bankulli was hugely instrumental in getting D’banj the G.O.O.D music deal, because he was the one who approached Kanye West at the Dubai airport to listen to D’banj’s songs and that signaled the beginning of the relationship between D’banj and Kanye West.
The heavy set Bankuli is also a vocalist whose vocals have been on songs like “Igwe” by D’banj, “Now is the time” by Ikechukwu, as well as a couple of tracks in D’banj’s forthcoming album titled “DKM”. He also featured and did the chorus on dbanj’s popular single ‘Oyato’ released last year. He was the musical creative director as well as the manager to dbanj and db record after don jazzy part ways with dbanj. Bankulli was the tour manager of the second edition of Intro Summer Jam a Nigerian hip hop concert in London were Eddris and Maintain were the major acts in 2004 . Bankulli also has the credits of doing all the ground work and media plug for JJC and the 419 squad which included other back bone music artistes like Dbanj, Don Jazzy, Queen Onokala.
Born in Igbobini, Ondo State, Bankulli is a University of Ibadan graduate with a BSc Zoology/Animal Biology, he also doubles as the CEO at BANKULLI ENTERTAINMENT, a management and artiste A &R entertainment company. Bankulli was one of D’Banj’s mainframes, and few others who stayed loyal to him, when everything came crumbling after his face off with Don Jazzy.
Bankuli took over D’banj’s affairs after former manager Sunday Are stepped down, following the Mo’Hits 2012 controversial